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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Marriage musings

Last week, one of my cousins (so close that I consider him as an elder brother) got married. His was probably the first marriage in the family which I could observe from close quarters. There are many who say that cinema and sport best reflect the culture of a people. I pity them, for I'm sure they have not witnessed a South Indian marriage. A few observations:

1. Everyone who comes to the marriage tend to ask the boys next in line, "So, you are next, right?" Some say it for fun, some are pretty serious. I tried different answers: "Oh no, I'm still young", "Not really, I'm planning to study further", "Well, I'll ask the groom for an opinion. If he says 'Don't risk it', I'd stay on my guard."

Relatives are tired of such answers - after all, they keep doing this to every boy in every marriage they attend. And everyone says the same thing. So, I had to invent an answer: "You're correct, I'm next in line. Maybe as soon as next year. There is this beautiful Muslim girl I'm going out with..." Ghastly silence follows.

2. The one aspect of a marriage that has to be impeccable is not the bridal make-up. Nor is it the groom's hairstyle. It is the food which take centre-stage. I've been to many functions where the food has turned off many a gourmand. However, in this case, the food was top-draw, in terms of quality and taste both -- good enough to satisfy innumerable tough-to-please palates.

3. Marriages can be much more fun if you stop staring at the girls, and start attending to long-lost relatives / friends instead. These are among the few occasions where you get to meet that periappa or this athai or the once-neighbour whom you've only heard talked about in conversations. They crave for someone to talk to them, to accost them for a few minutes, to inquire about their health or the progress of their grand-daughter in kindergarten. A few minutes spent with them warms their hearts, and leaves you with the feeling of having "made their day". A smile to welcome them, or a shake of the hands when they leave wins accolades. A namaskar is a Parthian shot.

4. One of the problems with relatives though is to identify them correctly. If you can't, it is safe to say so. I try a sheepish smile despite knowing well it doesn't look nice. My mom would also do her best to compound my troubles. She would drag me to someone and say, "They wanted to meet you. Don't you identify / know them?" For God's sake, no! Sheepish times again.

5. The marriage is great fun for everyone, except the bride and the groom (indicative of the future?). Standing in front of a camera and doing nothing is worse than a sentence. I cannot imagine how the newlyweds have the patience to greet every guest and pose with them for a snap. A few hundred snaps in a single day! God bless...

6. Card games are universal favourites. What better way to spend a nice evening with a bunch of kids and a deck of cards. But don't ever teach the kids, "Bluff". You would live to repent it. Kids are such experts.

7. Nalangu can be great fun, but in order to be awake to attend it, you shouldn't be playing "Bluff" with kids the previous night!

5 Comments:

Anonymous prasanna said...

Very nice read!

6/19/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Jagadish said...

Tam Brahm weddings, at least the ones I've been to/involved in, typically do the nalangu in the evening.

I said an emphatic "no to nalangu" for mine though :)

6/20/2006 12:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you really next in line ???

6/20/2006 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Hi said...

Superb write-up. The Muslim bride-to-be angle may, however, cause a bit of anxiety back home.

6/21/2006 05:41:00 AM  
Blogger Rams said...

I loved this "You're correct, I'm next in line. Maybe as soon as next year. There is this beautiful Muslim girl I'm going out with..."

Am gonna try this for sure :D

6/23/2006 02:07:00 AM  

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